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A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians 2:1-11

Brothers and sisters: If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others. Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. REFLECTION: ...." humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others."

There is so much evil in 2020, so much destruction, so much anger and hate. On one hand we have the priest abuse which though not in the headlines, still has its tentacles in my life, still affects me when I speak to non Catholics. I feel the shame, the indecency of what happened and all of a sudden I have grown not to trust the Church with abandonment but to objectively analyze everything so as not to lose focus on God. I am confused.

Then came Covid with its death and destruction of many hopes, dreams and lives. At the same time our Lord, our Eucharist, our Mass were taken away from us for awhile. During my quarantine, many videos were watched, many new apologetics listened to, many new critics of the Church, the Pope, and our Shepherds. There are many conspiracy theories, priests criticizing other priests and Bishops admonishing priests. I am confused.

There is the cry for justice by my fellow American citizens with intimidation, looting and wanton destruction. What can one say about that? Even our churches and statues are desecrated. I am confused.

There are many different voices in the Church: some leading the sheep to the right, some to the left, some to fight for the life of the unborn and some putting social justice above abortion. I am left confused.

Is this really happening in our Church? Are priests afraid to speak up for fear of reassignment? Fear of their parishioners? Are we browbeating our priests to be whom we want them to be and not whom Jesus wants them to be?

"Humbly regard others as more important than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3) cannot be interpreted as not speaking up, not doing and saying what is right because we are so busy being tolerant and loving. Love for one another is to yank each other out of the gulley or the ditch we happen to be found and to set us free to encounter Jesus. Yes, we humble our selves over the needs of others but in doing so, many seem to forget, "Lord, I am not worthy'....

2020 is in a terrible storm with violence, turmoil, and we find ourselves in need of leaders-- someone who has the courage to speak up. On this journey we need the encounter with Jesus both in confession when we meet our forgiving Lord but also in the Eucharist when we meet our nurturing Lord.

Today we celebrate Priesthood Sunday. The priest is the living and transparent image of Christ. It is the priest who continues the work of redemption here on earth. They are our leaders and we should and need to pray for them. They will help us encounter Jesus in the Confessional and in the Eucharist. Pray, pray and pray for them....for their gift to God and in turn their gift to us. No confusion here.

Stand up and speak up for what is right and, “yes, the world will hate you" but as I heard in one of the many you tube videos I watched, "Get over it".

God Bless You


PAPA Foundation
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